Interactive Austin – Breakouts 3 – Community, Social Good & Social Media #2

mind-mapThe third set of breakouts for Interactive Austin 2009 included:

Experience City – An exploration into community, entrepreneurism, experience and leadership combining to create scenes and experiences.  This session included a graphic recorder to mind map the freeform open discussion with panelists Heather McKissick, Bijoy Goswami, Steve Golab and Karl Krumm.

Community Management – A discussion of real-world case studies and best practices for the managing vibrant online & offline communities that have proven to be effective and/or profitable to enterprises, and develop valuable long-term human relationships for personal benefit, social change, or business development, with panelists Brad Warren, Jon Lebowski, Michael Wilson, and Matt Genovese.

Social Media for Social Good – A discussion into how enterprise level businesses can harness the power of conversational marketing into their business objectives in ways that non-profits and charities have already been successful in doing, with panelists Lisa Goddard, Ed Nicholson, Alan Graham, and Heidi Adams.

Social Media Workshop Session 2 – Inside the Enterprise.  A user-generated “barcamp” style, open forum session with panelists Dave Evans, Connie Reece, Susan Scrupski and Chris Almond.  Participants discussed real-world issues related to enterprise adoption of 2.0 tools and philosophies in an effort to gain insight into developing a customized road map for their own businesses. (John McElhenney recapped this session on his blog)

Social Media for Social Good won in my Tweet vote, so I headed over.

Alan Graham, President of Mobile Loaves & Fishes began with how technology drives the organizations 12k volunteers across 5 states.  They worked with Mike Chapman to develop a strategy in an effort to

  • change the paradigm of the way homelessness is viewed
  • empower people to become involved in service
  • position themselves as expert in the area of homelessness
  • influence elected officials
  • drive traffic to the website (among other channels – facebook, etc) 
  • multiply donations through a broad sustainable network.

They tap into many social networks including Facebook, Twitter, Flikr, and LinkedIn.

The Twegg (Twitter egg) promotion was a concept launched to correlate with SXSWI and Easter.

One promotional aspect is “MLF Factoids”, a network in which to push out facts & snippits about Mobile Loaves and Fishes and it’s activities.

Other concepts include “Share Your Lunch Today”, which occurs on September 4th, a “Tweetup” for the homeless, live streaming from the streets, webisodes, and “flash mobs” (for instance, on a very hot day – push out urgent needs for bottled water.  Announce drop off points & web donation link)

The object is to create human interest, to connect human to human and invoke listening tools, provide avenues for feedback, and to create loyalty.

Next on the panel was Heidi from Planet Cancer, who provides support services for the group that falls between children & elderly (young adults).

Isolation is an issue.  Social media is not just an avenue or program for them, it’s a community.  They started with a website and message boards, then updated.  They launched .ning site, which provides a home, a voice and an identity.   They are 3,800 members strong now, with social media being their lifeline.

Because this (online social networks) is where young adults live, this is where they (organization) are.

They allow their users to define their experiences.  They don’t have to be grouped by a type of cancer rather, by shared interests if that’s how they want to be identified.

They gather people through Twitter and the Ning site allows them to engage members.  The members are empowered with tools to engage those around them.

Flamingo-a-Go-Go is their pink flock fundraising project.

Planet cancer engages young adults as ambassadors.  They are empowered to take tools with them, to talk to their dr’s and their treatment providers, and to come back to the community for conversation and support.

Next up was Tyson Foods, who gives away 10 million pounds of food a year through it’s efforts at  

Social media is a strategy is to humanize their brand and establish their company as corporate leader in the cause of hunger.  

Their efforts are to become part of community that will recognize their voice as credible and to leverage their in-kind donations.  They have 104k people (employees).  They want to engage them in these efforts and make them feel good about the company they work for.

The efforts create people who are dedicated to the cause, another step toward being more authentically involved.

Strategies include utilitizing communications resources to create awareness and to build community around the issue.  They can leverage donations to generate more awareness of the issue of hunger, not only for what they are doing, but also to those in the trenches.  

Ed admits that their early efforts were ego-centric and brand focused, but they realized that there were lots of people who were already engaged in the effort who were giving their lives for the cause.  They decided to become more collaborative, more outwardly focused.  Their press releases now contain additional logos & partnership mentions.  The hunger relief site tells stories of people behind the scenes.

An interactive concept they do is to posts stats for certain areas, promote a donation drive around that, then donate to local foodbank in the area.

Next up was Lisa Goddard from the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, who began by stating that 300k area families rely on food from food bank.

During SXSW last year they learned how important it is to use social media and started a blog.  They have also come to discover how important the tools become in times of crisis (such as the hurricanes).  There is an explosion of people who want to help during disaster management, and social media allows them to communicate quickly.

Social media is a natural complement to traditional media strategies.  

In addition to getting information out quickly, they are able to coordinate specific campaign promotions, such as the Food Stamp Challenge a concept surrounding living for a month on only the food you purchase on a food stamp budget.

Additionally, social media allows people to provide feedback and tell them how they feel about hunger – community engagement.

It wasn’t so much about their goals with donations & usage of their donation channels, it was about finding the value in connections.  

They are working on raising awareness for gardeners to donate produce, through a Grow & Give pledge.

On Twitter, #txlege is hash tag for Texas legislative issues.  They use it in their discussions as a way to create associations with things that may not be considered non- profit, such as general news and politics, creating a way to connect the pieces.  Poverty a social issue, so they look at it from a holistic point of view.

During this time (financial) donations have stayed flat, but the need has increased.

Follow @mlfnow on Twitter to see bills that they and the food bank are lobbying for.

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Shannon Aronin also recapped this session on her blog.

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